The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes Gotama Buddhavamsa (Explanatory Notes) contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

Chapter 17b - Appendix: Gotama Buddhavaṃsa (Explanatory Notes)

We have so far described the name, clan, family, etc., of the twenty-four Buddhas, from Buddha Dīpaṅkarā to Buddha Kassapa in one chapter as mentioned in the Buddhavaṃsa Pāli Text and relevant Commentaries in chronological order.

For the Gotama Buddhavaṃsa, which we are dealing with presently, also an attempt has been made to compile it as complete as possible on the basis of the Buddhavaṃsa Pāli Text and Commentary, as well as relevant extracts from other Pāli Texts and Commentaries.

Concerning this Gotama Buddhavaṃsa, the learned readers may wish to read the chronology that deals exclusively with the Buddha Gotama as originally delivered by himself. We will therefore render those twenty-four stanzas in plain Myanman.

Buddha Gotama (on the request made by the Venerable Sāriputta), having expounded exhaustively the part of the Buddhavaṃsa concerning the twenty-four Buddhas from Dīpaṅkarā to Kassapa, pouring forth the discourse like the sky river overflowing, proceeded to expound the facts concerning Himself, from the Jewelled Walk in the sky, in twenty-four stanzas as follows:

The First Great Occasion of The Dhamma Teaching

1) Ahametarahi Sambuddho
Gotamo Sakyavaḍḍhano
padānaṃ padahitvāna
patto Sambodhimuttamam

Dear son, Sāriputta, I, a descendent of the Gotama lineage which has made the Sakya royalty thrive, after six years of energetic effort at meditation (padhana) attained the Exalted State of Omniscience.

2) Brahmunā yācito santo
Dhammacakkaṃ pavattayiṃ
aṭṭharasannaṃ koṭīnaṃ
paṭṭhamābhisamayo ahu
.

Dear son, Sāriputta, at the request of Sahampati Brahmā in the eighth week after My Enlightenment, I had delivered the Sermon of Dhammacakka in the Deer park, at Isipathana, Bārāṇasī. On that occasion, (for the first time) eighteen crores of Brahmās headed by Kondañña Thera realised the Four Noble Truths and achieved liberation.

The Second Great Occasion of The Dhamma Teaching

3) Tatho parañca desente
naradevasamāgame
gananāya na vattabbo
dutiyābisamayo ahu
.

Dear son, Sāriputta, subsequent to my teaching of the Dhammackka, when I deliver the discourse of Maṅgala Sutta, at the assembly of devas and humans who were debating the question on ‘What constitute Blessing’ (Maṅgala), it will be the second occasion of innumerable devas, humans and Brahmās coming to realize the Four Noble Truths and achieving liberation.

(This second great occasion of Dhamma teaching will take place subsequent to the discourse on the Buddhavaṃsa. This also applies to the stanzas that follow.)

The Third Great Occasion of The Dhamma Teaching

4) Idhevāham etarahi
ovadiṃ mama atrajaṃ
gananāya na vattabbo
tatiyābhisamayo ahu
.

Thirteen years after my attainment of Buddhahood, I will exhort my son, young Bhikkhu Rāhula, by delivering the discourse of Cula Rahulovada in the Andhavana Grove of Savatthi. (At that time also,) innumerable devas, humans, and Brahmās will come to realize the Four Noble Truths and achieve liberation.

The First Occasion of The Disciples’ Meeting (Sāvaka Sannipāta)

5) Ekosi Sannipāto me
savakānaṃ mahesinaṃ
aḍḍhatelasasatānaṃ
bhikkūnāsi samāgamo

Dear son, Sāriputta, a congregation of disciples had been held (on the last full moon day of Māgha) for the first time; it was an assemblage of one thousand two hundred and fifty bhikkhu-arahats who had done away with the āsavas.

(This refers to the Buddha’s preaching of Ovāda Pāṭimokkha, instructions on the obligation of a bhikkhu at the congregation of disciples, characterised by four features[1]. It was the day on which the Venerable Sāriputta gained arahatship.)

Services rendered by The Buddha

6) Virocamāno vimalo
bhikkhasanghassa majjhago
dadāmi pattitam sabbaṃ
manīva sabbakāmado

Dear son, Sāriputta, I also, like the previous Buddhas, being replete with infinite grace characteristic of the Buddhas, and free from the taints of kilesa, stand becomingly in the midst of the Sangha and, like the ciṅtamani ruby capable of fulfilling every wish, have been fulfilling the wishes of devas, humans and Brahmās for special mundane and supramundane happiness.

7) Phalamākaṅkhamānānaṃ
bhavacchanda jahesinam
catusaccaṃ pakāsemi
anukampaya pāṇinam

Dear son, Sāriputta, for the benefit of devas, humans and Brahmās who wish to attain the four Fruition stages of the Path and do away with attachment to sensuous existence, I have, out of compassion, expounded the Four Noble Truths (to enable them achieve their wish).

(This is an instance of how Buddha brings about the benefit of all beings by way of expounding the Four Noble Truths.)

8) Dasavīsasahassāmaṃ
Dhammābhisayo ahu
ekadvinṇam abhisamayo
gananāto asaṅkhiyo

Dear son, Sāriputta, (As the result of such expositions of the Four Noble Truths) rational beings, numbering ten thousand after one session, or twenty thousand after another, have become emancipated. In other instances of beings gaining freedom in twos or threes, the number is incalculable.

9) Vitthārikaṃ bāhujaññaṃ
iddham phītaṃ suphullitaṃ
idha mayhaṃ sakyamunino
Sāsanaṃ suvisodhitaṃ

Dear son, Sāriputta, I, a descendent of Sakyan royal family, have renounced the world to become a recluse and have taught the Dhamma. This Teaching of Mine, sāsana, shall spread in the three worlds (of devas, humans and Brahmās) and many beings discerning it clearly shall thrive exceedingly, pure and radiant.

10) Anāsavā vitarāgā
santacittā samāhitā
bhikkhūnekasatā sabbe
parivārenti mam sadā
.

Dear son, Sāriputta, I am at all times surrounded by a great number of bhikkhus who are free from āsavas, having given up raga, and who with tranquilised mind possess serene concentration like an oil lamp burning steadily in the still air.

11) Idani ye etarahi
jahanti mānusaṃ bhavaṃ
appattamānasā sekhā
te bhikkhū vinnugarahitā

Dear son, Sāriputta, there are certain bhikkhus who, even in My life time, have to depart life as mere trainees (sekkha) without having attained arahatta-phala. They are reproached by the wise.

12) Ariyañjasaṃ thomayantā
sada dhammratā janā
bujjhissanti satimanto
samsārasaritam gatā
.

Dear son, Sāriputta, those mindful people, who extol the virtues of Noble Eight-fold Path and take delight in the Dhamma day and night, will be able to cross the ocean of saṃsāra within a limited number of existences and gain emancipation through realisation of the Four Noble Truths.

Place of Birth, etc.

13) Nagaraṃ Kapilavatthu me
Rajā Suddhodano pitā
mayham janettikā Mātā
Māyādevīti vuccati

Dear son, Sāriputta, my place of birth is Kapilavatthu, my father is King Suddhodāna and my royal mother is Māyā Devi.

14) Ekunatiṃsavassāni
agāraṃ ajjhahaṃ vasiṃ
rammo surammo subhako
tayo pāsādamuttamā

Dear son, Sāriputta, I had been a ruler of the Kapilavatthu country for fully twenty-nine years, residing in three palaces: Ramma, the winter palace with nine-tiered spire; Suramma, the summer palace with five tiers, and Subha, the seven-tiered palace for the rainy season.

15) Cattarīsasahassāni
nāriyo samalaṅkatā
Bhaddakañcana nāma nāri
Rahulo nāma atrajo

Dear son, Sāriputta, during the period of my reign, there used to be forty thousand well ornamented and beautified female attendants; my Chief Queen was Bhadda Kancana and my son was called Rāhula.

16) Nimitte caturo disvā
assayānena nikkhamiṃ
chabbassaṃ padhācaraṃ
acariṃ dukkaraṃ ahaṃ

Dear son, Sāriputta, having seen the four great omens (of an old man, a sick man, a dead man and a recluse). I had gone forth riding my horse Kandaka. (In the remote) forest of Uruvelā, I spent six years practising severe austerities (dukkaracariya), that is beyond the capability of ordinary persons.

17) Baranasiyam Isipatane
cakkaṃ pavattiaṃ mayā
aham Gotamasambuddho
saranaṃ sabbapāṇinaṃ

Dear son, Sāriputta, in Isipatana, Migadaya forest of Bārāṇasī, I had turned the wheel of Dhamma (I had delivered the Discourse of Dhammacakkapavattana); indeed I have become the refuge of all beings, the Perfectly Enlightened Buddha with the family name of Gotama.

18) Kolito Upatisso ca
dve bhikkhu aggasāvakā
Anando namupaṭhāko
santikāvacaro mama
Khemā Uppalavṇṇā ca
bhikhunī aggasāikā

Dear son, Sāriputta, my Chief Disciples are the pair of bhikkhus, Kolita (Venerable Moggallāna) and Upatissa (Venerable Sāriputta); my permanent bhikkhu attendant, who is always close at hand (for more than twenty years) to attend to my needs, is Ānanda. The female Chief Disciples are the pair of bhikkhunīs, Khemā Therī and Uppalavana Therī.

19) Citto hatthāḷavako ca
aggupaṭhāupāsaka
Nandamātā ca Uttarā
aggupatthakupasika
.

Dear son, Sāriputta, noble lay devotees rendering Me close service are Citta, a wealthy householder (residing at Macchi-Kasanda in Kosala country) and Hatthalavaka, (the pious son of King Alavi of Alavi country); female attendants closely attending upon Me are the female devotee Nandamata (an Anāgāmī resident of Velukandaka, a town in Dakkhinagiri province of Rājagaha country) and the noble lay devotee Khujjutara (a sotāpanna, a Bearer of the Three Piṭakas, Possessor of the title of Pre-eminence (Etadagga) who was conceived in the womb of a maid servant of a rich man, Ghosaka of Kosambī and who became, when she came of age, a female attendant of Queen Sāmāvatī).

20) Aham assatthamulamhi
patto sambodhimuttamaṃ
vyāmappabhā sada mayham
solasahatthamuggatā

Dear son, Sāriputta, I attained arahatta-magga-ñāṇa and achieved Omniscience, at the foot of the Bodhi Tree (100 cubits tall). Light rays from my body (spreading over a radius of eighty hand-lengths) shine brilliantly at all times. My height is sixteen hand-lengths.

21) Appam vassasatam āyu
Idhānetarahi vijjati
tāvatā titthamānoham
tāremi janataṃ bahuṃ

Dear son, Sāriputta, the present life span (of human) is very short, limited to only one hundred years. I will live for four-fifth of this life span (eighty years) and for forty-five years I shall be saving sentient beings (from the ocean of saṃsāra) and conveying them to the Shore of Nibbāna.

22) Ṭhapayitvāna Dhammukkaṃ
pacchimaṃ janabodhanaṃ
ahampi nacirasseva
saddhiṃ savakasaṅghato
idheva parinibbissam
aggīvāhārasaṅkhayā

Dear son, Sāriputta, I have lit and set up the Torch of Dhamma burning, in order that the coming generations may understand the Four Noble Truths. At no distant date, in the company of my bhikkhu-disciples, I will come to the Final End, like a torch extinguished with fuel expended, in this very world at Kusinara, dropping the curtain on the drama of existences.

Two Stanzas of Saṃvega.

23) Tāni ca atulatejāni
Imāni ca dassabalāni
ayañca gunadhārano deho
dvattiṃ savaralakkhanavicitto

24) Dasa disā pabhātsetva
sataraṃ siva sappabhā
sabbaṃ tamantarahissanti
nanu rittā sabbasaṅkkhārā

Dear son, Sāriputta, My peerless glory and power, the ten physical strengths and this person of Mine, comely and wonderful to behold, embodying, like a golden mountain, the thirty-two major characteristics of a superior person together with six fold Unique Wisdom (asadharana-ñāṇa) and ten mental strengths (dasabala-ñāṇa), the six-hued rays emanating from my body, and illuminating all directions like the rays of the sun, all these things just spoken about will all perish and disappear. Are not all conditioned things, life or lifeless, vain and devoid of the essence of permanence, genuine happiness and substance? (This being so, I urge you to cultivate Insight meditation (Vipassanā) by contemplating on the three salient characteristics of conditioned phenomena, and strive hard for the attainment of Nibbāna. Such is the usual instruction for you all, given by the Fully Self-Enlightened Buddhas. With heedfulness, exert yourself to fulfil these instructions.)

(With this ends the exposition connected with major events as laid down in the Buddhavaṃsa Pāli Text and the Commentary. But U Nu, Prime Minister of Union of Burma, at the time of requesting me to write a saga of the Buddhas, said inter alia:

“Please supervise the compilation of a treatise on the lives of the Buddhas. In so doing, please include everything about the Buddha, not leaving out even minor details. If one volume is not enough, make it two; if two is not enough, make it four, eight and so on. It is important that the work should be exhaustive.”

In consideration of his earnest request, the treatise on Mahābuddhavamsa will not be ended here. Its scope will be extended to include the events that took place since the delivery of the discourse on Buddhavaṃsa by the Buddha and it will be entitled “The Great Chronicle of Buddhas”. To this end, an attempt will be made, to the best of my ability, to add a series of chapters on the significant events concerning the Buddha.)

End of Appendix

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Four features: Read Chapter 16: The single occasion of the Diciples' meeting (Sannipāta).

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